News & Media

17 January, 2020

Australian Newsletter - Issue 609

CHINA TIGHTENS IMPORT CURBS ON AUSTRALIAN COKING COAL
Source: Argus Media
Customs officials at the major Chinese coking coal ports of Caofeidian and Jingtang have clamped down on customs clearances for Australian coking coal again, only granting customs clearances to Chinese importers on a case by base basis. This sudden tightening of coal import policy has come less than one month since the rules governing customs clearance at the two ports were loosened at the beginning of 2020. Importers in other regions of China are disallowed from declaring their coal cargoes at the two ports with immediate effect, said sources who received the notice. As usual for Chinese customs authorities, this new policy has been implemented only "in principle" and coal buyers have stressed that the situation on the ground will be unclear until more updates are available.  FULL STORY

SUPPLIES OF IMO COMPLIANT SHIPPING FUELS RISING FAST: IEA
Source: Ron Bousso (Reuters)
Global supplies of marine fuel compliant with new environmental rules are increasing fast as concerns over quality remain marginal, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday. International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules that took effect on Jan. 1 require ships to use fuels with sulphur content of no more than 0.5%, down from 3.5% before, unless they are equipped with exhaust-cleaning systems known as scrubbers. Despite initial concerns late last year about availability of very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), the preferred compliant marine fuel, supplies at key hubs now seem adequate, the global energy watchdog said in its monthly report. [IEA/M] “We are starting to see the first data on the transition and, it appears that deliveries of the new VLSFO bunkers are increasing fast,” the IEA said.  FULL STORY

LIVE EXPORT BOOM AT TOWNSVILLE PORT
Source: Jessica Johnson (North QLD Register)
THE largest shipment of cattle bound for Vietnam has left the Port of Townsville this month, with demand from the south-east Asian country contributing to a live export boom. The world's biggest purpose-built livestock carrier Ocean Shearer departed Townsville with 13,116 head of cattle on January 9 and will reach its destinations in southern and central Vietnam this week after an eight day voyage. North Australian Cattle Company managing director Ashley James said demand for live Australian beef had increased in Vietnam in readiness for Tet, the Vietnamese new year festival which will be observed later this month.  FULL STORY

PORT OF NEWCASTLE APPOINTS ROSS CADELL TO ADVOCATE HUNTER ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION
Source: Trailer Magazine
Newcastle local and former NSW Nationals State Director, Ross Cadell, has joined Port of Newcastle at a critical time for the diversification of the Hunter economy and its international trade gateway. Cadell begins as Special Projects Director on 3 February, leading the political and regional stakeholder engagement efforts as the Port works alongside all levels of government to advance key infrastructure projects that will future-proof the local, state and national economies. Port of Newcastle CEO, Craig Carmody, welcomed Cadell’s unique blend of experience in business and politics, coupled with local knowledge, as the Port prepares to push ahead with projects such as the $1.8 billion privately-funded Multi-purpose Deepwater Terminal (MDT) with government support.  FULL STORY

SHORTLIST FOR PORT BOTANY RAIL DUPLICATION BUILDERS
Source: Rob McKay (Fully Loaded)
ARTC takes important step towards aiding container transport modal shift
New South Wales is a step closer to boosting its ailing efforts to put more shipping containers to and from Port Botany on trains. Modal shift targets aimed at reducing traffic congestion around the port and adjacent airport have failed to be met through the last decade and the percentage on rail has even shrunk.
But the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has revealed that major firms are now shortlisted to design and construct the Botany Rail Duplication and Cabramatta Loop projects. "Improving freight performance at Port Botany is critical for the economic growth and prosperity of Sydney" ARTC CEO and MD John Fullerton says.  FULL STORY

PORT KEMBLA AT RISK IN THE SEASON OF THE STINK BUGS
Source: Glen Humphries (Illawarra Mercury)
You mightn't realise it but we're right in the middle of stink bug season.
The tiny bug - officially known a brown marmorated stink bug - makes its way onto ships during winter in the northern hemisphere. When the ships arrive at Australian ports, the warmer weather sees them spring to life. While the Department of Agriculture could not supply specific data on the number of ships with stink bugs detected at Port Kembla, the Illawarra port does accept the bugs' favoured ride - cars. "So far this [financial] year we have had over 80 detections of brown marmorated stink bugs on goods coming to Australia," a Department of Agriculture spokeswoman said.  FULL STORY

VICTORIA TO REVEAL DELOITTE PORTS REVIEW ON JAN 30
Source: Jenny Wiggins (AFR)
Transport operators in Victoria will find out by the end of the month whether the state government is likely to regulate port fees when they are briefed on the outcome of a Deloitte review. Melissa Horne, the Victorian Minister for Ports and Freight, will hold an industry round table on January 30 to outline the initial findings of the review into port pricing and access and present policy recommendations. The Victorian government hired Deloitte to do the review after freight and transport groups complained about continued increases in "infrastructure surcharge fees" at the Port of Melbourne. It is understood to have received a copy of the review. Road and rail companies as well as importers and exporters have to pay the fees, which have risen sharply over the past three years, to enter container terminals.  FULL STORY

NEW CHAIRPERSON TO DRIVE PORT GROWTH, DIVERSIFICATION
Source: Mirage News
The McGowan Government has appointed Noel Hart as chairperson of the Mid West Ports Authority (MWPA) Board to drive job-creating growth in the region over coming years. Mr Hart brings significant maritime and shipping experience to the role, having previously been a General Manager for North West Shelf Shipping Service Company, a Director of numerous maritime companies, and holding his Master Mariner Class 1. He was formerly Commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Australia’s peak shipping body. In addition, Mr Hart spent 25 years in senior management of BP Shipping. Mr Hart’s appointment takes place on February 1, 2020.  FULL STORY

IRON ORE AND COAL PRICES KICK UP ON AUSTRALIAN CYCLONE, MINE DEATH
Source: Hellenic Shipping News
Iron ore buyers concerned about supplies in the wake of a cyclone and a coal mine death have pushed up prices in the past week. While earlier this week some analysts had tipped a 2020 decline in the iron ore price to $US89 ($129) a tonne, the price has risen in the past week by 2 per cent to $US96.15 a tonne. RBC Capital Markets flagged the change and tied the movement back to concerns about tropical cyclone Claudia which is passing through WA’s iron ore ports in the northwest of the state. Cyclone season starts in November in WA and runs through until April. About 98 per cent of the 28 billion tonnes of iron ore Australia makes comes from WA, so supplies in WA can affect world pricing.  FULL STORY

FREMANTLE: HUNDREDS OF WHARFIES TAKE 24 HOUR STRIKE ACTION
Source: Mirage News
Two hundred wharfies at the Dubai Ports container terminal in Fremantle stopped work for 24 hours, accusing the company of failing to bargain in good faith as negotiations for a new workplace agreement drag on for more than 15 months. The strike will be followed by a range of further actions including rolling stoppages that will see every worker down tools for the final hour of each shift, along with a range of work bans. The Maritime Union of Australia said workers at DP World Australia had been left with no choice but to take industrial action in a bid to finalise a new workplace agreement that addresses important issues around job security and locks in workplace conditions such as parental leave and domestic violence leave.  FULL STORY

VIKING REVEALS THEIR NEW EXPEDITION SHIPS
Source: Bernadette Chua (Cruise Passenger)
Viking has announced the launch of their new expedition line. Viking Expeditions will start sailing in January 2022 with its first purpose-built vessel, the Viking Octantis. She’ll be sailing on voyages to Antarctica and North America’s Great Lakes. And later in August 2022, the line will launch the second expedition vessel, the Viking Polaris. Viking’s arrival to the Great Lakes itineraries visits the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as the Canadian province of Ontario. Past Viking guests have been able to book select Viking Expeditions polar itineraries since 9 October 2019. From 16 January 2020, all expedition voyages – including the new Great Lakes itineraries – are available to the Australian and New Zealand public for booking.  FULL STORY

AUCKLAND COUNCIL COPS BACKLASH OVER PROPOSED PORT LOCATIONS
Source: Nick Truebridge (scoop.co.nz)
Plans to continue lobbying for the investigation of a new port in Auckland's south have drawn the ire of a Northland strategist. The Manukau Harbour, along with the Firth of Thames, are two locations identified in Auckland Council documents as potential spots for a new port. The Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy working group, headed by former Far North District Mayor and developer Wayne Brown, effectively nixed those options in its final report, citing insurance and environmental concerns. But this week, a spokeswoman said Auckland Council would continue to lobby for the two alternative options.  FULL STORY

SEABOURN ENCORE RETURNS TO TIMARU'S PORT AFTER THREE YEARS
Source: Samesh Mohanlall (Stuff.co.nz)
Cruise ships have been welcomed back to Timaru with the Seabourn Encore, the first cruise ship in three years to berth at the port on Tuesday morning. The ship, with about 600 mostly American passengers, is the first to return to the town since February 2017 when it lost its moorings in high winds and collided with the Milburn Carrier II, causing damage to the hull. Cruise New Zealand executive officer Kevin O'Sullivan said he was looking forward to discussing Timaru at April's Seatrade Cruise Global in Miami, USA.  FULL STORY

A WAVE OF SUSTAINABILITY SWEEPS ACROSS THE CRUISE INDUSTRY
Source: Josh Martin (Stuff.co.nz)
If you're hopping aboard one of the cruise liners departing New Zealand this year, you might want to bring your own straw. The war on straws is being fought on the high seas, with almost all major cruise brands banning them altogether. If you're a cruise liner, it's low-hanging fruit, with the added bonus of being measurable and easy to replace. However, other easy wins on the sustainability front are harder and require cross-industry efforts to move to cleaner fuels, better access power supplies at port so they don't have to burn fuel, and drastically cut food waste.  FULL STORY

MASTER CONVICTED AFTER FAILING TO REPORT MAIN ENGINE BREAKDOWN WITHOUT DELAY
Source: AMSA
The master of a ship has been convicted after failing to report without delay a main engine breakdown off Queensland that affected the safety, operation and seaworthiness of his ship. The incident that led to this conviction dates back to Thursday, 31 January 2019 when the tanker Asphalt Spirit was en route from Korea to Australia carrying 14,000 tonnes of asphalt. The ship suffered a main engine breakdown at 4pm local time and began drifting 30km northeast of Point Lookout on North Stradbroke Island. The ship’s master reported the incident via email to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) just after 10pm that night – six hours after the initial breakdown.  FULL STORY

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